[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 40 (Wednesday, February 29, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 12213-12214]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-4834]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 101126522-0640-02]
RIN 0648-XB044


Fisheries of the Economic Exclusive Zone Off Alaska; Shallow-
Water Species by Amendment 80 Vessels in the Gulf of Alaska

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION: Temporary rule; closure.

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SUMMARY: NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for species that comprise 
the shallow-water species fishery by Amendment 80 vessels in the Gulf 
of Alaska (GOA). This action is necessary because the first seasonal 
apportionment of the sideboard limit for 2012 Pacific halibut 
prohibited species catch (PSC) specified for the shallow-water species 
fishery by Amendment 80 vessels in the GOA has been reached.

DATES: Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), February 24, 
2012, through 1200 hrs, A.l.t., April 1, 2012.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Whitney, 907-586-7269.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the groundfish fishery in the 
GOA exclusive economic zone according to the Fishery Management Plan 
for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (FMP) prepared by the North 
Pacific Fishery Management Council under authority of the Magnuson-
Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Regulations governing 
fishing by U.S. vessels in accordance with the FMP appear at subpart H 
of 50 CFR part 600 and 50 CFR part 679.

[[Page 12214]]

    The first seasonal allowance of the 2012 Pacific halibut PSC limit 
specified for the shallow-water species fishery by Amendment 80 vessels 
in the GOA is 10 metric tons as established by the final 2011 and 2012 
harvest specifications for groundfish of the GOA (76 FR 11111, March 1, 
2011) for the period 1200 hrs, A.l.t., January 20, 2012, through 1200 
hrs, A.l.t., April 1, 2012.
    In accordance with Sec.  679.20(d)(1)(vi)(C)(2), the Administrator, 
Alaska Region, NMFS, has determined that the first seasonal 
apportionment of the 2012 Pacific halibut PSC limit specified for the 
shallow-water species fishery by Amendment 80 vessels in the GOA has 
been reached. Consequently, NMFS is prohibiting directed fishing for 
the shallow-water species fishery by Amendment 80 vessels subject to 
sideboard limits in the GOA. The species and species groups that 
comprise the shallow-water species fishery are pollock, Pacific cod, 
shallow-water flatfish, flathead sole, Atka mackerel, skates, and 
``other species.''
    After the effective date of this closure the maximum retainable 
amounts at Sec.  679.20(e) and (f) apply at any time during a trip.

Classification

    This action responds to the best available information recently 
obtained from the fishery. The Acting Assistant Administrator for 
Fisheries, NOAA (AA), finds good cause to waive the requirement to 
provide prior notice and opportunity for public comment pursuant to the 
authority set forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) as such requirement is 
impracticable and contrary to the public interest. This requirement is 
impracticable and contrary to the public interest as it would prevent 
NMFS from responding to the most recent fisheries data in a timely 
fashion and would delay the closure of the shallow-water species 
fishery by Amendment 80 vessels subject to sideboard limits using trawl 
gear in the GOA. NMFS was unable to publish a notice providing time for 
public comment because the most recent, relevant data only became 
available as of February 23, 2012.
    The AA also finds good cause to waive the 30-day delay in the 
effective date of this action under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3). This finding is 
based upon the reasons provided above for waiver of prior notice and 
opportunity for public comment.
    This action is required by Sec.  679.21 and is exempt from review 
under Executive Order 12866.

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    Dated: February 24, 2012.
Steven Thur,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-4834 Filed 2-24-12; 4:15 pm]
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